Fault Line | Christa Desir | Book Review

One of my favorite things about young adult fiction is that it allows readers to experience the darker aspects of life in a safe place. At the same time, not every teenager is shielded from the harsh realities of life and so, for some readers YA can provide a way of processing what has happened to them and moving past the experience. I have a special interest in books that deal with sexual assault and domestic violence, because I have had a career working with and educating victims for several years. I am constantly on the prowl for books to recommend. Fault Line by debut author Christa Desir is the latest of many books that I would recommend with rape as a theme. It curiously explores angles that I have not previously come across.

Fault Line C Desir Book Cover

Ben is a big man on campus, at least at his high school. He is one of the swim team stars, so he has muscles. He is also not too bad to look at, thus he is popular with the ladies. He has his pick of the females. When new girl Ani ends up at Ben’s school, she attracts him in a way that no other girl has before. She’s self-assured, she’s confident, she has swagger. And so, Ben decides to pursue her. The two have an interesting relationship that challenges each other and things are going great. UNTIL. Until Ani goes to a party and is brutally assaulted sexually. This is the turning point of Fault Line by Christa Desir, and when everything changes between Ben and Ani. Will things work out between them? You’ll definitely have to read the book to find out because I certainly will not tell you.

Ben who is also known as Beez is totally not portrayed as a nice, mushy sort of guy. I saw quite a few reviews on goodreads where readers just did not like Ben, because he’s not really a hero and he’s not at all perfect. I would say he is one of those shades of grey, fully-realized sort of characters where he is neither good nor bad, but realistic. Fault Line has quite a few moments where Ben comes across as an asshole, but you know he’s a teenage boy who is very popular, that happens. I personally thought that having Ben be the main character was an interesting choice, because plenty of the sexual assault stories feature the primary victim and I have not read any where it’s the secondary victim — because when a partner experiences assault, it can be victimizing as well. As for Ani, in the beginning of Fault Line she comes across as a manic pixie dream girl, but I thought she was pretty cool. Then she just kind of flips a switch. Again, we read her experience through Ben’s filter, so keep that in mind as you read Christa Desir’s book.

Desir really nails the rape exam emergency room experience. In Fault Line, there is a volunteer advocate who meets Ani in the emergency room and I have to say as someone who does this for a job and who trainings volunteer advocates, Desir’s portrayal is dead on. I did see some reviews who said it came across as trying to teach a lesson or whatever, but as someone with experience, her advocate did exactly what advocates do in real life — which yes, involves providing information and referrals to the victim and the victim’s family and relatives. Within the theme of sexual assault, I found it very interesting that Ani was blamed at her school for her victimization. I know people might say, oh trying to fit too much in, too cliche, etc. However, I am thinking about it within the context of events like Steubenville where the girl was blamed for her assault, and how yes, that happens in real life and it just sucks that we live in a rape culture.

Fault Line is a very fast read that provided what I thought was a different look at rape and how it affects teenagers, because you know it’s not like rape is this uncommon thing, especially with statistics like 1 in 4 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, so the more books that speak to the experiences of  a quarter of the female population, the better.  I personally felt this book was very enlightening and also accurate both in it’s depiction of various procedures and in Ani’s subsequent behaviors and reactions. Christa Desir’s Fault Line is a dark book with no easy answers.


Disclosure: Received for review via Edelweiss

Other reviews of Fault Line by Christa Desir:

Haven’t found any yet, but also note I wrote and scheduled this review in May, so by now, October there very well could be other reviews. Drop your link in the comments if you end up reviewing this.

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I loved this book, well as much as one can love a book that’s so disturbing and depressing. I thought it seemed so terribly real and I liked that it was told from Ben’s perspective. Here’s my review. It’s also nice (I feel like I’m using all the wrong adjectives here) to hear from someone who works with victims of sexual that the story is accurate in your eyes.

    Also, if you’re looking for something in a somewhat similar vein, I just finished Carrie Mesrobian’s Sex & Violence and I thought, even though it’s a very different story, that she did a great job of depicting a sexual assault on a woman from a male perspective.

  2. Oooh, I wanted to know what you thought of this one and your review is up now. Yay!

    Hmm, I actually really liked Ben. I liked that he felt like a real guy without having to be super macho or whatever. I mean, he does some asshole things, but he usually doesn’t mean to. He’s just not always the most thoughtful, but that seems realistic to me.

    Also, for some reason, the title in this review is always showing up as “Â Fault Line” to me.

    We already talked about this, but I am very glad to hear that you think this was a really accurate portrayal of the volunteer advocate.

  3. I’ve seen a few reviews of this book floating around, and I must say that nearly all of them have made me want to read this. I know it’s pretty intense, and a little darker than what I’ve been reading lately, but I do think it’s the kind of story that deserves to be told. It might help someone — and that’s the best part.


  1. […] that I picked up because it was wicked short and also because I really, really loved her debut, Fault Line. Unfortunately, I do not think I was quite in the right mindset or place when I read Bleed Like […]